Warming Trend

Seven pounds?

Those copy-writing monkeys thought I’d gain seven pounds over Christmas weekend? Please. How is that even possible? You’d have to dip deep-fried sticks of butter into more butter and cover it with frosting or something.

Anyway, it was only two pounds, and it’s no doubt due to two things: too many cookies and a Monday-night supper that consisted solely of Little Smokies in BBQ sauce and Templeton Rye. Hey, I was on vacation!

After weighing the options presented last week, I decided to go with running as my way to get a workout in. Across town, fellow native son Jeff Kerkove spent a week on the trainer. I’m not sure which of us came out ahead, because while I didn’t have to ride the trainer (win for me!), I’m sure his legs didn’t feel like they were smacked repeatedly with a Wiffle Ball bat for an hour at a time (win for him).

Regardless, I’m happy it’s over. That’s mostly because the drive between here and there is god-awful no matter how you slice it. But also I’m ready to get back down to work on the bike.

Why? I’m glad you asked. It’s because I figured out how to keep my feet warm. It took the better part of five years, but I finally nailed it.

It all starts with the socks. The tendency when it gets chilly is to go with a thicker sock. They’re soft, they’re fuzzy and they’re cutting off your circulation. A thin merino-wool cycling sock — like Capo’s Euro Seasonal Wool Sock — works better, since it allows room in your shoes for a pocket of warm air.

After you have your socks on, get some of these and stick them to the bottom of your feet. Top it off with a shoe cover of some sort — the Bontrager RXL thermal bootie is the current Velo Gear staff favorite — and get out there.

This might seem like a lot of work to go for a ride, but it’s also a lot of work to regain feeling in your feet after riding around for three hours at 15 degrees. This setup should keep you covered with no problem if it’s below 30. If it’s above 30, ditch the toe warmers but keep the thin socks. They’re the key to base miles.

As I type this, it’s 52 degrees in Omaha. Not bad for December. Even better for 6:15 a.m. in December. It’s not going to get much warmer today, but I don’t think anybody cares. The streets are clear, though wet, and the snow is mostly gone.

As early as Tuesday, Twitter messages were bouncing around about ditching work today at noon and going for a ride. As far as I can tell, there could be as few as four or five people — or as many as 4,300 — meeting up and heading out.

While 52 in December is chilly in some places, it may as well be the middle of summer here. I’m positive we’ll see guys going sans-knee warmers today (because I’m planning on it), and on climbs we might even see a couple of arm warmers pulled down.

In short, we need to live it up. Tomorrow’s forecast includes these three works: Freezing rain likely. On top of that, we’ll have some snow and wind.

Heck of a way to ring in the new year, huh?

Random link time:

  • I’m no Luddite, but I’m not quite grasping the fervor over electronic shifting. I don’t deny that it’s cool and that we’ll all be on it someday, but I’ve been doing pretty well (relatively speaking) with my plain-old SRAM Force drivetrains. Record 11 Electric? Sounds like a good way to tack another $2,000 on an already-ridiculously priced group. Ultegra Di2? If Shimano can find a way to make a budget version of Di2 (since that’s kind of the point of Ultegra), does that mean they’ve been gouging us on Dura-Ace Di2? After all, the only differences will be the crank and brakes; the electronics have to be pretty much the same.
  • Steve Tilford got a very, very cool Christmas gift. I daresay it makes my giant bag of jelly beans look like a pittance.
  • (Warning: Not-random link ahead.) The Velo Gear Outlet Store is loaded with good stuff right now. There are some half-price summer jerseys and a host of hot winter deals, too. Check it out. Tell ‘em Velo Jones sent you. Actually, don’t tell them that. It won’t help.

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